Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours


 
Bomber Command and RAAF in the UK 1939 to 1945 on 7 July 2019

  

Leaving Salisbury at 0900 we headed for Zeals where we were to visit Sam and Kevin who have refurbished an old WW2 Control Tower which needed much love and turned it into a beautiful home while taking into consideration the life before. This has been an annual visit by my groups to have morning tea with Sam and Kevin and they are always ready for us as Sam has home cooked cakes set out on the table while Kevin has plans and books associated with the airfield laid out for perusal. The home is set in 1300 m2 on part of the old RAF Zeals airfield it is in an idyllic situation with the fields and trees in close proximity. Kevin still has projects under way including moving and tarmacking his driveway. Also he is taking the opportunity to replace and reorganise cables that were under the old driveway.

A lovely visit again and we said farewell to our hosts and made our way to a parking area in the hills up a very narrow track and then left the coach to proceed on foot along the saddle to the location of an aircraft crash that happened in early 1945. It was a Dakota and had 25 on board. Included on board were 2 Australians who had just completed a glider course and were returning to their units when, while taking off, a failure occurred and while trying to return to the airfield the plane hit the knoll and ploughed through the trees killing all aboard. There is a memorial there in the woods on the knoll and we conducted a small service again to ensure that they will not be forgotten. When we arrived back from our visit to the memorial, Michael had arrange foldup chairs overlooking the view for us to sit and relax. While sitting there overlooking that vista we did have a glass or 2 of champagne as a reward for participating in such a hazardous trek in the bush.

Next Michael took us through some beautiful country lanes, through quaint villages and overhead vegetation on our way to the Red Lion where lunch was waiting. This was our 7th visit to this pub and as always the hospitality and food served was excellent. Sam and Lorna a surely great publicans. After lunch we said goodbye for we were heading to Sutton Veny to pay our respects to the 167 souls who reside there in the CWGC. During the War, 1 Australian General Hospital was located nearby servicing the wounded brought through on the new narrow gauged railway that had been especially built for that purpose.

Many buried here succumbed to the Spanish flu that was rife amongst the soldiers as they prepared to return home. Many looking after the wounded including the Matron, 2 nurses, doctors and other members of the Medical Corps are also buried in this CWGC. The cemetery is at the back of this 19th Century Church and the grounds are very well looked after.

After visiting the Church we headed home via some more country lanes before arriving at Salisbury. Time to take our gear to our rooms before we set off to visit the Cathedral. On the way we walked past many of the beautiful homes that surround the approaches to the Cathedral. At the Cathedral there was a Service taking place so we stayed out in the cloister and walked around the inside perimeter before leaving by the main gate to the Cathedral grounds and made our way back to our hotel, for a drink and dinner. Tomorrow we head north. The adventure continues.









Graham Fleeton

  

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